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Food for Thought: Using Data and AI to Address Human Trafficking

The Stanford Human Trafficking Data Lab discussed its impact on our understanding of human trafficking markets and policies.

The Food for Thought series features student-focused events with speakers from a variety of disciplines discussing topics related to global development.

Event Details:

Wednesday, February 1, 2023
5:30pm - 6:30pm PST


Gunn SIEPR Building


This event is open to:


Human trafficking is a pernicious social problem; on any given day, roughly 40 million people are victims, and many more are survivors. There is little quantitative understanding of how human trafficking markets work, or how effective (or not) policies aimed at combating them are. A clear obstacle is the lack of systematic data on trafficking. 

The King Center on Global Development invited the Stanford student community to learn about how applying econometric and machine learning tools to administrative data holds great promise for progress in understanding, and combatting, human trafficking. In this presentation, Professor Grant Miller, Senior Research Scholar Kim Singer Babiarz, and Undergraduate Research Assistant Sierra Wells talked about their work with partners in Brazil, providing an overview of the Stanford Human Trafficking Data Lab’s work and a deeper dive into some specific projects.


About the speakers: 

Grant Miller

Grant Miller

Grant Miller is the Henry J. Kaiser, Jr. Professor, School of Medicine Stanford University School of Medicine, a core faculty member at Stanford Health Policy, and a senior fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research. He is also a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and an affiliate of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab. Miller’s primary interests are health economics, development economics, and economic demography. His work has been published in numerous journals. He holds a BA from Yale University and an MPP and PhD from Harvard University.

Kim Babiarz

kim babiarz

Kim Babiarz is a Research Scholar of the Center for Health Policy, Center for Primary Care and Outcomes Research. Babiarz’s research focuses on fertility and family planning programs, infant and maternal health, and the gender dynamics of global health. She has studied human trafficking in China and SouthEast Asia, and currently works on quantitative approaches to issues of human trafficking and child labor in Brazil.  Babiarz specializes in large-scale program evaluations and quasi-experimental study designs. She holds a PhD in Agricultural and Resource Economics from the University of California, Davis (2011).

Sierra Wells

sierra wells

Sierra Wells is an Undergraduate Research Assistant at the Human Trafficking Data Lab. Her academic interests center on using quantitative analysis as a tool to better understand human rights violations in Latin America. Wells has worked with the Human Rights Data Analysis Group (HRDAG) on projects about police brutality in Puerto Rico and civilian casualties in the Guatemalan armed conflict, as well as with Mexican NGO Data Cívica analyzing homicides of women in the country. Wells is currently a Stanford senior pursuing a B.A. in International Relations and a minor in Data Science.

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